This feature length documentary examines the phenomenon of the northern lights, aka the aurora borealis. Though scientists have advanced many theories in an attempt to explain it, mysteries still linger. Experience a visual panorama of animated legends and international space launches as indigenous people and scientists offer their perceptions of the wondrous northern lights.
This short animation tells the tale of the great spirit Glooscap and how he battled with the giant Winter in order to bring Summer to the North and the Mi'kmaq people. Silas T. Rand, a Canadian Baptist clergyman and ethnographer, and Charles Leland, an American humorist and folklorist, first recorded the legend of Glooscap at the end of the 19th century. Since then, the legend has been retold many times, but never more beautifully than in this colourful animated interpretation.
This feature-length documentary is a portrait of eclipse chasers, people for whom solar eclipses - among nature's more spectacular phenomena – are a veritable obsession. The film follows 4 of them as they travel incredible distances to witness the last total eclipse of the millennium as it sweeps eastward across Europe to India. At various points along the way enthusiasts Alain Cirou in France, Paul Houde in Austria, Olivier Staiger in Germany and Debasis Sarkar in India offer their impressions of the historic event.
This introspective short animation takes place In the village of Carcross, in the Tagish First Nation. Neighbourhood pillar Grandma Kay tell the local children the tale of how Crow brought fire to people. As the story unfolds, we also meet 12-year-old Tish, an introspective, talented girl who feels drawn to the elder. Here, past and present blend, myth and reality meet, and the metaphor of fire infuses all in a location that lies at the heart of this Native community’s spiritual and cultural memory.
This animated short tells the story of Maq, a Mi'kmaq boy who realizes his potential with the help of inconspicuous mentors. When an elder in the community offers him a small piece of pipestone, Maq carves a little person out of it. Proud of his work, the boy wants to impress his grandfather and journeys through the woods to find him. Along the path Maq meets a curious traveller named Mi'gmwesu. Together they share stories, medicine, laughter, and song. Maq begins to care less about making a good impression and more about sharing the knowledge and spirit he's found through his creation. Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children's stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
This animated short, inspired by the Mi'kmaq legend "The Stone Canoe" explores Indigenous humour. We follow Little Thunder as he reluctantly leaves his family and sets out on a cross-country canoe trip to become a man.Vistas is a series of 13 short films on nationhood from 13 Indigenous filmmakers from Halifax to Vancouver. It was a collaborative project between the NFB and APTN to bring Indigenous perspectives and stories to an international audience.
Hubert Reeves is an astrophysicist whose honours from the scientific community include the Albert Einstein award. But Reeves is known to the public as a wonderful popularizer of scientific ideas, possessed of an exceptional talent at combining science and humanism.
As a child growing up near Lac St-Louis in Quebec, Reeves was fascinated by nature and its relationship to the rest of the universe. This fascination led him to Cornell University, where he studied with some of the great scientific minds of the 20th century. A raconteur, Reeves tells stories about his remarkable professors, men like Hans Bethe, Philip Morrrison and Bob Wilson, whose research led to the atom bomb. Reeves also offers revealing anecdotes about Einstein, Niels Bohr, Oppenheimer and Teller.
With his usual enthusiasm, Reeves highlights milestones in astrophysics, showing us a view of the moon as seen by Galileo in 1609, and remarkable photos of galaxies colliding billions of light-years away. Along with stunning visuals, we listen as Reeves explains history and theory in a highly accessible way.
A committed ecologist, Reeves warns about the deterioration of our planet. In the face of explosive economic globalization, Reeves believes that the globalization of ecological movements offers hope.
This six-minute short documentary captures the eclipse of July 20, 1963, in the small town of Grand-Mère, Quebec. The eclipse was plainly visible and attended by scientists, stargazers, and an influx of visitors who came to see it and join in the accompanying festivities.
This short animation transports us from the farthest conceivable point of the universe to the tiniest particle of existence, an atom of a living human cell. The art of animation and animation camera achieve this exhilarating journey with a freshness and clarity. Without words.
This short documentary by Colin Low is an invitation to a gathering of the Káínaa of Alberta - as the Sun Dance is captured on film for the first time. The film shows how the theme of the circle reflects the bands' connection to wildlife and also addresses the predicament of the young generation, those who have relinquished their ties with their own culture but have not yet found a firm place in a changing world.
In a quest to rediscover the spiritual values of his own people, an African filmmaker from the Gourmantche tribe of Burkina Faso visits the Atikamekw of Northern Quebec. The resulting documentary is a dialogue between those who divine the future in the sand with those who use snow-encased sweat lodges to reconnect with the spiritual world.
Ages 10 to 17
Media Education - Film and Video Production
Science - Space
After watching this film, ask students to list the different theories as to how The Northern Lights came about. Give students a choice to either write a poem or make up a legend on this topic. Read the following poem to the class about The Northern Lights as a model. For Art, students can create their own picture of The Northern Lights.